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Pompeii 2014 ***

The much derided Paul WS Anderson is something of a throwback in that he makes great bad movies in the 70’s vein; after his similarly anachronistic Three Musketeers, Pompeii comes on like a vintage 70’s disaster movie garnished with modern CGI. The result isn’t a good movie per se, but it’s highly enjoyable.  Kit Harington is Milo, a slave who comes to Pompeii to fight Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) in the gladiatorial ring, but various bursts of steam and fire indicate that this personal battle will be put aside as survival tactic to avoid massive waves of lava take priority. Standing in the way of Milo’s romance with Cassia (Emily Browning) is Roman Senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland), who gives a lip-smacking lisping performance that recalls Michael Palin in Life of Brian and recalls some of the wilder antics of his father Donald. Pompeii resolves itself in a series of spectacular explosions and tidal waves, and while Anderson doesn’t have the patience of the build-up that features in Titanic, the way the storylines get engulfed in fire and water is vintage Hollywood. Pompeii is something of a glorious ruin of a film, and yet it would be hard to argue that audiences won’t be entertained, if not always for the right reasons.

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